human tea


I'm Rab Townsend.
a Canadian composer, writer, photographer,
and occasional bathrobe-clad superhero.

Pet Peeve

Conflating neurochemical and evolutionary mandates with pre-meditated actions, and then assigning them emotional values.

My birthday, in pictures:

So, the 17th was my 28th birthday. The following story has no punchline, as they often don’t, and will serve to do little but reveal what kind of sad fool I am, so, take from that what you will. 

I wasn’t expecting much, considering that one of my best friends had begun moving across the country just the day before, and that was sad, for me.

On the 16th, I had a birthday lunch and watched some tried and true comedies on ye olde netflix in “Hook” and “Liar Liar” - and staunchly refused to open presents until the morning of my actual birthday.

I didn’t sleep well that night, and when I woke up and had to start fielding birthday calls, I was probably a bit curt, which is unbecoming of a birthday boy.

Anyhoo, eventually, I did open my presents. Some days before, I had received two mystery packages from Amazon, and I had no indication of who had sent them.

The larger of the two turned out to be from my sister. It was Grant Morrison’s “Animal Man Omnibus” - a weighty tome. The smaller was Series Five of Doctor Who, from - go figure - one of the crazy people I had jokingly suggested should send me gifts, not expecting to get anything. Thanks, crazy person. I also got a much coveted limited edition Zelda-themed Wii U from a different kind of crazy person - the kind who thinks I deserve expensive presents. I also got the gold box of Twin Peaks, which I had also coveted.

Despite that lovely haul, I began to feel kind of empty and blue. And despite how ancient I have become in comparison to most of you people who follow me, it wasn’t so much about time’s marching on as it was about… feeling like I don’t deserve presents, because I don’t give anything as freely as some people seem to want to give to me. And I don’t want to, either. But all the same, feeling as though I’m some how emotionally and socially deficient as a result made me feel listless.

So, I took a walk. I had this hopeful thought that I could cheer myself up by discovering a path through the park to the shopping centre on the other side of it to buy some Wii U games at the Best Buy. I walked in the general direction, taking a path up to what seemed like a back-street (it was named “Research Drive” after all). I continued on westward, and encountered a gathering of no less than six stray cats in a parking lot. I hoped to snap an instagram of it, as it is the duty of every Gen-Y to document the weird and the mundane in equal measure. I didn’t however, because I was shamed out of it by a car full of people that was crawling out of that lot, as if they knew what I was thinking. Well, what the fuck were they doing in that parking lot, anyhow? They probably wanted to instagram those stray cats for themselves. What horrendous shit-sacks they must have been.

Anyway, I walked on, located the Best Buy, and discovered that it, and every store in the place was closed, it being 6PM on a Sunday by that point. But when I returned, I thought, “hey, remember those birthday selfies you took two years ago? Those were alright.” So, I put on a shirt and tie, and photoed against ye olde blue-brick, thinking “could I be any more unoriginal, if only in comparison to myself?” And the answer was “somewhat.” Anyway, a few people liked it, so I haven’t entirely worn away all the good faith that having a reasonably handsome face affords me.

(If you’ve got to this point by now, and you’re thinking, “Good god, we’ve only hit the second picture! It has no end!” the next bit will go a bit quicker).

I had planned on Monday to go to my family cottage in the area I grew up. I subjected my mother to “Best Of” playlists, including Owen Pallett and Queen. Though she had always encouraged music in my life as a child, she is not an active listener, and so when I say “subjected” it is generous, because I doubt she noticed much of it

It turned out that my Uncle and his wife were there as well, and we were all trying our best to have a good time while working around the fact that my grandmother’s begun to lose both her nouns and her ability to identify at all with young people (even 50-something young people like my mother and her brother) who have embraced technology.

For being born, my mother awarded me two books, which are also pictured above. She also went to great lengths to ensure I knew she had bought me a CD on the amazon marketplace, and worried often that it might not come as it should.

My uncle and his wife are perpetual victims of diet and weight-loss fads, but they do have a penchant for what I would generally call excessive endurance-exercise. My Uncle often wakes early, and walks the perimeter of the lake the cottage is on - which seems to me a ridiculous distance.

But that said, I do enjoy a good hike, so we conspired to combine their penchant with mine, and we went up to what we call “Tom’s Lookout,” - a distinctively uphill climb, despite a trudge through a swamp (not pictured because over-exposed). For some reason, I decided that I would not break my pace, and that I would not stop moving until I reached the summit of the mountain (not actually a mountain. more like a very high hill). This meant a lot of backtracking, because the elders were having conversations and taking a leisurely pace - even my Uncle, who was quite able to walk ahead. I found myself loudly and repetitively whistling the Legend of Zelda overworld theme from Link’s Awakening (my favourite) until I became so dehydrated that my lips couldn’t sustain a whistle.

Up top, there were some lovely views of the surrounding lakes, and some flowers, but I was so darn hot and sopping sweaty that i couldn’t hold my camera steady long enough for good photos of anything.

Somehow, I felt the same shame I felt when I considered instagramming  those cats when I considered taking a selfie on the mountain. If not only because I have begun to worry that the selfies are grating on people.

Upon our return to the cottage, my mother reheated a nice soup that had a fancy name and was something to do with the pilgrimage in Spain. Something the pilgrims would eat on their trek, I suppose. She had done the Camino de Santiago last year, is why, see.

My grandmother’s ginger cat Chester had lost weight - but he had been very fat, and the weight loss did nothing to silence his constant meowing. He is a very vocal cat. Petting him elicits a yowl that sounds annoyed, but my grandmother believes it is gratitude she hears. Groping his gut makes him elicit the same yowl, but what’s he going to do? He’s still too fat to stop me from touching him up good. Chester will just have to accept my love, or lose enough weight to run away.

On Wednesday, my mother dropped me at the bus station and I took the last seat on the bus next to a guy who seemed to think he could get away without it, when a line still extended from the bus door. Those hippie dorks hadn’t realized that bus tickets can sell out. Rather than subject him to annoying conversation, as I’m sure he feared I would, I read the shit out of a book. Take that, expectations. I read that book so hard.

On the way home, I snagged the Wii U Donkey Kong game, and finally arrived home to play it and feed my poor cat who is also very meowy now, because she missed me - and yet remains as unaffectionate as ever.

So, the birthday was decent.

On a scale from crying into a mccain cake in the dark in an empty house to eternal consequenceless orgasm, I give it a this story.

Forever the Birthday Blues
birthday self portrait - coincidentally taken in a shirt I received for my birthday last year (against the same old blue wall).

Forever the Birthday Blues

birthday self portrait - coincidentally taken in a shirt I received for my birthday last year (against the same old blue wall).

Same.

Same.

happy birthday to me.